Why Do An MBA In South Africa? Top MBAs, Fees & Scholarships

Find out why you should do an MBA in South Africa with information on the best MBA programs in South Africa, fees, scholarships, and graduate jobs

Earning your MBA in South Africa comes with a number of advantages, ranging from the excellent financial value of the local MBA programs to the marketability of your degree. 

The best business schools in South Africa take advantage of their location in a leading emerging market, and focus their coursework on sustainable business practices and creating managers with strong leadership skills. 

Plus, South African MBA graduates experience some of the world’s largest pre-MBA to post-MBA salary jumps!


Best MBA Programs In South Africa

What is the best MBA degree in South Africa? The University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business tops the list of best business schools in South Africa by Eduniversal.

Second on the list is the University of Stellenbosch Business School, which is also located in Cape Town, also triple accredited. Offering four streams of specialized study, the program is known for its strong focus on leadership development. 

In addition to these top two MBA degrees, South Africa boasts a large number of excellent business school programs. Most of these programs offer generalized MBAs, which are a mixture of theory and practical business experience. 

South African MBA programs are generally flexible, part-time programs geared towards mid-career, working professionals. 

Choosing where to do your MBA in South Africa may be as much about the reputation and competitiveness of the program as it is about finding an MBA that is conveniently located near your current job. Fortunately, excellent MBA programs are scattered throughout the country’s business hubs.

Our list of the 10 best MBA programs in South Africa details the unique specialties of each program.


MBA Requirements In South Africa

MBA degree requirements in South Africa vary from university to university, but tend to have several aspects in common.

Prior applying to a program, potential students will have to complete a bachelor’s degree, or equivalent coursework, of NQF level eight. Most programs look for self-driven, mid-career professionals with an average of at least three years of management experience and four or more years of relevant postgraduate work experience. 

In addition to educational and professional experience, business schools also require a proficiency in English and a high level of mathematical understanding. Many programs also ask to see test scores, though the accepted exams vary from the GMAT and NMAT to program-specific admissions exams. 

Each school has its own online application, many of which will require transcripts, a CV, and admissions essays explaining your motivations for attending the program. 

MBA requirements in South Africa could also include an interview, proof of living near the campus, employer recommendations, and additional essays. 

Prior to graduation, programs will require students to complete core coursework, electives, and–often–a research project, dissertation, and/or study abroad program.


Read: Why Do An MBA In Dubai? Best MBA Colleges + Jobs & Salary Prospects

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MBA Fees In South Africa

How much does an MBA cost in South Africa? 

Looking strictly at tuition, and excluding travel and housing costs, South African MBAs can cost anywhere from R90,000 ($6,000) on the extremely low end to R350,000 ($23,000) on the high end. 

Compare this to attending top US business schools, which cost over $100,000, and you’ll realize the incredible financial value of a South African MBA. 

According to Anne Wilson of the South African Business Schools Association (SABSA), the average cost of a South African MBA in 2020 was R268 955 (around $17,000).

Of the programs on our top 10 South African MBAs list, the cheapest MBA in South Africa is the fifth-ranked Nelson Mandela University Business School, with a two-year total tuition fee of R126,543 ($8,000). This price includes textbooks and a student enrollment fee.

The second cheapest MBA on our top 10 list is the seventh-ranked University of Kwazulu-Natal’s Graduate School of Business and Leadership. According to their MBA brochure, the two-year tuition fee comes to R147,470 ($9,500) excluding the application fee, registration fee, and other minor student fees.

Typical MBA fees in South Africa run between R200,000 and R300,000 ($13,000-$19,000)—not inexpensive by any means, but certainly affordable compared to many international counterparts. 

Note that you may find even more attractive tuition rates at non-accredited business schools in South Africa–but be wary of programs with fewer accreditations that don’t offer official MBA degrees. 

South African MBAs tend to request lower tuition rates from South African residents compared with international students.

University of Pretoria’s Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS), for example, charges R285,450 ($18,500) for local students and R552,900 ($35,000) for international students enrolled in their full-time MBA program.


MBA Scholarships In South Africa

MBA scholarships in South Africa typically come from private institutions, and can be found through online research. Occasionally, universities will offer scholarship opportunities from alumni, which are specific to their institution/institutional relationships. 

Upon admission, it is always wise to reach out to your university’s admissions committee to ask about scholarship and funding assistance. We also recommend doing your own research. 

For example, searching ‘GIBS scholarship’ will take you to the main funding webpage for the University of Pretoria. 

Filtering by GIBS business school and student nationality (South African) allows you to narrow down the scholarship opportunities to two: Ernst and Ethel Eriksen Trust Postgraduate Bursary 2022, and Compensation Fund (COID) Bursary Program 2022.

A similar search for the University of Stellenbosch Business School provides information about their alumni bursaries and financial assistance, for which MBA students are eligible to apply. These partial-tuition bursaries are awarded based on academic merit and financial need.


MBA Graduate Jobs In South Africa

MBA graduate jobs in South Africa will depend largely on a student’s previous work experience, specific specialization, location, and personal qualifications. But what sorts of jobs can you expect to qualify for after graduation? 

Well, all South African MBAs will prepare you for mid-to-senior level managerial roles, and many will prepare you for leadership opportunities. Entry level MBA jobs in South Africa could include titles such as ‘Project Manager’ or possibly even ‘Senior Project Manager’ or ‘Project Specialist.’ 

Your MBA will allow you to jump to a level of management that was not achievable before earning your degree–this is why many universities advertise their MBA programs as a way to fast-track your career. 

MBA degree-holders often find themselves in the public and private sectors after graduation, though some will turn their entrepreneurial skills into startups and new career opportunities. 

SABSA reports that most South African business schools provide little in the way of career guidance, but do offer high-level interactions with local businesses, with the goal of encouraging business sponsorship. 

Leveraging your work study programs and alumni connections is an excellent way to help ensure employment upon graduation and stand out to some of the world’s top MBA employers.


Should You Earn Your MBA Degree in South Africa?

There are many attractive qualities of pursuing an MBA in South Africa: unique, hands-on experience, a focus on leadership and sustainability, and the ability to tailor your degree to the improvement of the African economy. If that speaks to you, then we recommend learning more!


Next Read:

Best Business schools In South Africa | Top 10 MBAs

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